It is no secret our preferred means of travel is via Cruise Ship. We will cruise anytime the opportunity presents itself. However, this cruise was special. Mark and I were celebrating our birthdays so we had family and friends joining us.
Our vacation started at 4:00am in taking our friends to the airport. They live a little over an hour away so they spent the night with us and had the first flight out. I returned home, jumped in the shower, threw the last minute stuff in the bag, requested an Uber and went to pick up Mom. By 6:30am the 4 of us were loaded up and headed to the airport.
Security at DFW was about par… Trenton’s bag got flagged because he had a “R2D2 Bop It” that was apparently “suspicious”. The Security guy laughed when he saw it and yelled back at the scanners… “What do you guys have against R2?”
It was finals week for me in school and I was taking 2 summer classes, so work hard… play hard was the theme for this cruise.
Our flight was uneventful… Miami was not. There were storms rolling through (no surprise) so there was a mild delay in getting off the plane. The big delay came when it took them over 2 hours to offload our luggage. Seriously the entire flight was sprawled across the baggage claim… waiting. One guy was making up his own song and rapping on Snapchat “Trapped in an Airport”. Our luggage was finally released and we got it all except for Trenton’s bag. Thankfully we saved our baggage claim numbers and they were able to locate it 2 baggage claims away… no clue how it got there.
We requested a Lyft and headed outside. The Lyft app showed Juan was picking us up in a White Infinity SUV. Instead, Jose showed up in a Grey Nissan… Because those are similar. We verified he really was our driver, climbed in and headed to the hotel. Trenton noticed on our app we had passed the hotel. We tried to tell “whoever was driving” but he didn’t speak any English. We did finally make it to our hotel…. After he stopped at 4 prior places asking “Is this it?”
It didn’t end there. We had 4 hotel rooms reserved and only 2 were ready at our designated check in time. They promised to let us know when the others became available. The last group of our travelers arrived about 6pm. The 3rd room was now ready. (Check in was 4pm). We dispersed more bags and headed out to dinner as everyone was starving.
We headed to South Beach and had dinner at Havana 1957 and then to the beach for some sunset views.
After dinner and a nice walk on the beach we decided to head back to the hotel. We were not notified the 4th room was ready until after 8pm!! This little mix up did end up getting all 10 of us free breakfast and a free shuttle to the port the next morning so I’m not complaining.
We stayed at the Doubletree Grand by Hilton in Biscayne Bay. Rooms were great, you can see the ships in port if you have a bay view and there is a little section that connects the Doubletree and Marriott next door. There are shops, a nail salon, small bar, restaurant, deli and liquor store there so its great for last minute cruise items or grabbing a quick drink or bite to eat. The restaurant took our breakfast coupons so that was great! The hotel also arranged for us to have a shuttle take us to the port at 9:40am (it does not normally run until 11am) so we really appreciated that.
We arrived at the port about 9:50am. I was pleasantly surprised with the improvement in the porters. We were met at the van, our luggage was taken and processed for us. We were directed to go stand in the priority line. They did not let us inside until a few minutes after 10 so the wait was not bad. Once inside everything went smoothly. Mark and Trenton had a pact to be the first in the Red Frog Pub so our seating in the Priority Lounge was very strategic. Their surveillance paid off and there was only 1 family in front of us. Once on the ship, Trenton took off at a sprint. He made it there first. Since he wasn’t “legal” they gave the 2nd beer to me and I passed it on to one of our friends once they made it there.
Our rooms were ready when we boarded and sign and sail cards were in the mailbox as promised.
Stay tuned for ... The Carnival Vista